Federal Public Land Managing Agencies

The Bureau of Land Management (BLM):

BLM manages over 260 million acres of federal land, primarily in the eleven western states and Alaska. These lands contain the largest, most diverse and scientifically important body of cultural resources managed by any federal agency. Ranging from prehistoric cliff dwellings, rock art and sacred places of continuing significance to Native Americans, to historic mining structures and ranches, cultural resources managed by the BLM represent the tangible remains of over 13,000 years of human adaptation on the North American continent. Over 278,000 cultural properties have been recorded on BLM land, a fraction of the 4 to 4.5 million estimated to exist. A variety of factors currently threaten these resources, including inadequate information about the location, condition and significance of sites, insufficient funding to identify, evaluate and protect them and activities like oil and gas development and motorized recreation. BLM also faces significant challenges in monitoring and protecting cultural resources from theft, looting, inadvertent destruction and the forces of nature.

National Park Service (NPS)

For more than 20 years, the National Trust for Historic Preservation has worked to save historic places in the National Park System.  From the Plum Orchard Mansion at Cumberland Island National Seashore to the majestic Many Glacier Hotel in Glacier National Park, the historic places in our National Parks showcase the breadth of American history.  As with cultural resources under the care of many federal agencies, historic places in our National Parks are threatened by a lack of funding and often a lack of agency will to protect them.  This is particularly true in parks where some park managers believe protecting cultural and historic sites conflicts with their mandate to protect natural resources. In fact, twenty historic sites managed by the National Park Service have appeared on the National Trust's list of America's 11 Most Endangered Historic Places since its inception in 1988.

United States Forest Service (USFS)

The National Forest System contains 193 million acres of federal land spread over 155 forests and twenty grasslands in forty-four states, Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands. The Forest Service estimates that there are 40,000 buildings in its inventory characterized as "administrative" (such as ranger stations, guard stations and fire lookout complexes) and "recreational" (including cabins, lodges, campgrounds, and picnic shelters).  Many of these buildings have not been evaluated for their eligibility to the National Register of Historic Places.  Sixty-percent or 24,000 are more than thirty years old and many of those are historic by cultural resource standards.  A third category of cultural resources called "heritage assets" include archaeological sites and structures related to mining, railroad and the timber industry and total more than 300,000.  Some sites are also categorized as "multi-use."  For example, a historic ranger station could be both an administrative site and a heritage asset.